Category: Media

Trump and Threats to Truth, Democracy and Peace

Stein Tønnesson delivered this year’s The Fjord Memorial Lecture  at Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, Lillehammer. The lecture discusses Trump’s team of advisors, calls for fighting the increasing use of lies in political campaigning, sees Trump’s election as having weakened democracy worldwide, and perceives a major risk to world peace. Tønnesson ends the lecture… Read more »

On Bullshit and Research

Researchers who write articles or give interviews must be given approval rights over how their material is presented. My year as an academic has been bookended by a couple of awkward encounters between my own research and a new media reality. The year has also provided a rich crop of angry messages from strangers in… Read more »

A Bug in the System

Palestine does not exist on the map and is also not easy to find in the jam-packed schedules of diplomats working with the Middle East. A Twitter storm was unleashed a couple of weeks ago when rumours spread among pro-Palestinian activists that Google had removed Palestine from its mapping service. The internet ignited as only… Read more »

From the House of Cards to House of Data?

The fourth season of the Netflix series House of Cards was released worldwide on the 4th March. Which is to say, the week-end when many International Relations (IR) researchers are still rushing to finalize their conference paper for the annual convention of the International Studies Association (ISA). And, if you are reading this post, you… Read more »

Is Apple the New Global Dictator?

Apple, CISCO and Microsoft rule the world, and intend to do so. Imagine if CISCO or Apple held a general election. Billboards with potential board members smiling at us with an apple in one hand and a ballot in the other. Anyone who owns a computer or an iPad or a smartphone would be legitimate… Read more »

Segregation Kills: How Social Media Fuels Violence in African States

Pundits and academics alike tell us that we are supremely fortunate to be living in a new “information age.” However, new findings which I present in an article in a Journal of Peace Research special issue paint a far more complicated picture of the consequences of increased human connectivity. Ours is certainly not an age… Read more »

When Internet Access Becomes a Weapon

Social Media has rightly been celebrated as an empowering tool for ordinary citizens to mobilize against repressive rulers, and make marginalized voices heard. But a crucial question remains unanswered: why should power-hungry states, with de facto control over access to the Internet, impassively concede to defeat?   The simple answer is: they do not. Behind the… Read more »

Refugees are Also Migrants. And All Migrants Matter

The recent debate over word choice has taken turns that undermine humanitarian principles and cloud the view of how migration is unfolding. The Washington Post, the New York Times, the Guardian, the BBC, and others have examined the usage of ‘refugees’ versus ‘migrants’ over the past week. The general impression is that ‘migrants’ are being… Read more »

Social Media Responses to this Winter’s Terror Attacks

Social media have brought Kenya into focus recently, with people’s reactions to the attack at the University of Garissa spreading on Facebook and Twitter. Social media users have been sharing an image of a candle against a black background, accompanied by the single word “Kenya”. In this way they have demonstrated sympathy for the 148… Read more »

Paving the Road to Democracy or Unleashing Big Brother? The Internet under Dictatorships

Today almost half of China’s 1.3 billion inhabitants are online, along with 85 million Russians and 17 million Saudis. The proportion of people with Internet access in these countries will soon be comparable to that of the United States, Germany and Japan. But what are the political consequences of allowing people living in dictatorships Internet… Read more »